You're Six Weeks Postpartum and Have Been Given "The Green Light" - Now What?Feb 09, 2023
It has been six weeks since you had your baby. You have waited patiently for this day, the day you get the “all clear” and the “green light” to return to running. You strap on your running shoes, walk out the door, start your run…. but wait, your body feels so exhausted, maybe unstable, and maybe you are experiencing pain. Maybe you pee yourself… maybe you even find you are losing stool. Perhaps you have absolutely no idea what you are experiencing, and you just feel different and lost.
What Has Happened To My Body?
Now you are thinking, “what has happened to my body?” Well, let’s dive into this a little. If you had a vaginal delivery, your baby had to pass through a group of muscles generally referred to as the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a bowl of muscle that sits between your hip bones and it moves and contracts just like any other muscle in your body. The pelvic floor is the foundation of your house: It supports the organs of your body, helps to maintain continence, and is also involved in sexual health. The pelvic floor undergoes remarkable changes, such as stretching of the muscle, to allow the baby to pass. Sometimes, this can cause injury and weakness, or it can lead to in-coordination of this grouping of muscles.
If you have a cesarean delivery, there are multiple layers the surgeon must go through in order to reach your baby. The layers include your skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia, muscle, three layers of the uterus, and potentially the amniotic sac. This is not to scare you, but inform you and help you to understand the healing that must then occur. Just as with any other orthopedic surgery or injury, there is the science of healing that needs to be respected and there is a way to properly progress back to what you love to do.
How Do I Get Back To What I Love?
At Athletes' Potential, we want to get you started on the right path from the get go. We offer telehealth or in person visits, depending on your goals. Overall, we want to:
- Bring awareness and coordination back to your core (pelvic floor, abdominal wall, diaphragm, back, shoulders, and glutes)
- Assess and progress your mobility
- Assess and progress your strength
- Assess your pelvic floor and body’s readiness to run through screening
- Guide you as you return to run
Everyone’s birth experience and current life situation are unique to them, so it’s important to evaluate you as a whole person and guide you through an individualized treatment program and progression that allows you to confidently return to what you love! The goal at Athletes’ Potential isn’t to make you an athlete for a year. The goal is to give you the tools and support you need in order to help make you an athlete for life.
Thanks for reading!
Ashton-Miller JA, Delancey JO. On the biomechanics of vaginal birth and common sequelae.
Annu Rev Biomed Eng. 2009;11:163‐176. doi:10.1146/annurev-bioeng-061008-124823
Goom T, Donnelly G, Brockwell E. Returning to running postnatal – guidelines for medical,
health and fitness professionals managing this population. March 2019.
Sung S, Mahdy H. Cesarean Section. [Updated 2020 May 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:
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